Olivia Ferdinand

Olivia Ferdinand

2020 Undergraduate Fellow
Government

Thesis title and description:
"Teachers Strike Back: Local Implementation of Statewide Teacher Pay Raises"

Since 2018, the United States has witnessed an unprecedented wave of teacher strikes. Educators from across the country, including in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, left the classroom to demand higher pay, smaller class sizes, and improved school services. As a result of the statewide strikes, fifteen state legislatures subsequently passed bills that increased teacher compensation, and this money was then distributed to local schoolboards. However, some districts, to the frustration of teachers, did not allocate the full raises that the state promised, and there is broad variation in the implementation of raises across districts. Ultimately, I seek to understand why some teachers may end up more successful than others after a strike. I plan to use this research travel grant to investigate the local allocation of teacher pay, and the conditions under which increases in state funding lead to proportional raises for teachers. My thesis project will thus seek to answer the following research question: What explains the variation in the local implementation of state teacher pay raises?